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Matt Levine

Mortgages, Taxes and Unicorn Swaps

Also hedge fund flows, whistle-blowers and fancy options.


One of the most powerful trends in modern finance is toward abstraction and away from the annoying random facts of physical reality. You can't go a week without reading about how the blockchain will revolutionize private stock markets, or syndicated loan settlements, or tuna, replacing current laborious manual procedures with instant electronic synchronization. It's not just a blockchain thing; index funds allow you to own "the stock market" while abstracting away from the particulars of any individual company. Nor is it even really a modern thing. The whole point of finance is to do this sort of abstraction, to replace "I have a goat now" with "I have tokens that will allow me to buy a goat later."